I understand that Mehdi needs to make a little cash to pay for hosting, etc. and that he eventually wants to make a living from the site. Many readers suggested adding advertisements, a donation button or a "premium" section of the website as alternatives to closing off the message board community in this way, but Mehdi summarily dismissed all of these ideas. By doing so, he's choosing short-term cash flow over the long-term growth of his site and over the interests of his customers.
I'm further disappointed by today's post on the StrongLifts blog. In it, he calls everyone who voiced their dissatisfaction with his decision "crabs":
The Crabs story.
The thing about AFCs are that they’re a bunch of crabs in a barrel. Just as one starts to lift himself out of the barrel, the other crabs will grab him and pull him back in.
AFCs are Average Frustrated Chumps. Guys who don’t get the girls and whine about it. If this sounds familiar, don’t worry it’s curable.
The people he's calling "crabs" are people who, for the most part, voiced their concern that this move would damage the viability of the blog as both a place for people to learn about strength training and as a profitable business venture for Mehdi. I'm included in this group. I'm shocked and disappointed that Mehdi chose to respond like this to expressions of genuine concern from people who really want StrongLifts to succeed.
It boils down to this: Mehdi's actions tell me that his number 1 priority is making money from his blog. Spreading good information about strength training, helping people learn and creating a supportive community are obviously second-tier goals for him.
For this reason, I am removing StrongLifts from my blogroll and will no longer be linking to any of his posts. He could care less, since I probably get something like a whopping 7 readers a month, but I'm not comfortable with promoting the site of someone who is comfortable making a move like this.